No. 353 - The Door of Hope at Glen Dhu

A general approach taken in this blog is to record the history of all buildings in Tasmania designed or purpose-built as churches. In this entry I will deviate from this approach for two reasons. Firstly, as a part of the Church of Christ, ‘The Door of Hope’ has a long history in Launceston which goes back more than 130 years. Secondly, ‘The Door of Hope’ is located in a former factory, which itself is of historical significance and an iconic building that is representative of Launceston’s industrial era.

The Church of Christ in Launceston was formed in August 1884 after an advertisement was placed in the Examiner calling for ‘Disciples of Christ’ to start a new church. With nine members, meetings were initially held in various private homes and halls. A mission tent was erected on the corner of the Kings Way and Brisbane Street in 1913 and almost 300 people “committed their lives to Christ”.

In 1913 the Church of Christ purchased the former Catholic Apostolic Church (built in 1898) which is situated on Margaret Street Launceston. The Margaret Street building served the Church of Christ for more than 80 years. During this time there were about six extensions to the chapel due to the growing congregation. Other branches of the church were established in Launceston including churches at Invermay and Sandhill.

The Church of Christ moved into a former factory site in Frederick Street in 1994. It then acquired the former Coats-Paton’s Factory in Glen Dhu and after major renovations; it was formally reopened as the Door of Hope Centre on November 29, 2003. The Door of Hope complex includes an auditorium, conference facilities, a restaurant, creche and even a workshop for car restoration. Although housed in a factory from the industrial age, the Door of Hope reflects the modern community-based face of 21st century Christianity.

The Patons and Baldwins Factory (Coats Patons)

Patons and Baldwins, a leading British textile company, was attracted to Tasmania in the 1920’s by inexpensive hydroelectric power and water and the local supply of fine wool. The availability of a relatively cheap labour force was a further incentive. The spinning mill began production in 1923 lead by a group of skilled British workers. Production benefitted from tariff protection which facilitated the factory’s steady and continuous growth. By the 1960’s Patons and Baldwins was the largest mill of its type in the southern hemisphere and also Tasmania's biggest employer of women. Employment peaked at over 2100 by the late 1960’s. The reduction of tariff protection in the early 1970s marked a turning-point for the company. From the 1970’s employment fell steadily due to inexpensive synthetic imports and the declining popularity of hand-knitting. By 1997, Coat-Patons decided to move its Launceston operations to New Zealand. The mill closed on 31 July 1997.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

View of the Patons and Baldwins Woollen Mill, Glen Dhu, Launceston, Tasmania. Source: QVM:1991:P:1057

View of the Patons and Baldwin Woollen Mill, Glen Dhu, Launceston, Tasmania, during the construction, during early 1920s. Source: QVM:1997:P:0044

View of the Patons and Baldwins Woollen Mill, Glen Dhu, Launceston, Tasmania, c 1934. Source: QVM:1991:P:1054

View of the Patons and Baldwins Woollen Mill, Glen Dhu, Launceston, Tasmania, during the 1930s. Source: QVM:1991:P:1063

Sources:

The Examiner Wednesday 17 August 1898
The Examiner 8 March 2014
The Mercury Friday 19 October 1934

https://www.door-of-hope.org/

http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/P/Patons%20and%20B.htm


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